Spring is near…. Brown Sugar-Vanilla Banana Butter

So even the name of this recipe (although a mouthful) makes me giddy with excitement. “Brown Sugar-Vanilla Banana Butter”…. I mean who doesn’t love any of those things? I know I do.  For some reason… after a long winter… and spring is just around the corner… I crave jams/fruit butters/and marmalades more than normal…which, lets be honest, I already crave these items in ALL seasons… but I long for them just a tad more when February rolls around.  Maybe just because I am ready for warmer days… when I can walk out in the backyard and eat a pear from the tree… or lay in the field with the kids to look at the stars…without freezing.  Anyways, this is a favorite recipe from one of my Jam Bibles “Can It” by Better Homes and Gardens.  I have a few alterations to mine (for example I do not add any butter into mine, so I will give you my version of the recipe) First… I must start by  bragging a little… I think I might just be married to one of the sweetest guys out there.  Before we married, I was explaining to someone why I loved my soon-to-be husband so much… one of the reasons that popped out of my mouth was, “he always does sweet things, like bring me flowers.” What I mean to say, was that he was thoughtful, and always attempted to make my day brighter by doing simple sweet gestures, such as bringing me flowers…. anyways, the lady whom I was speaking to, replied, “Yes… but flowers don’t last forever.”  Later on when I told my husband about it, he squeezed me with one arm and as he laughed at my sensitiveness to the whole conversation, he whispered, “oh hun, she doesn’t know it… but my flowers DO last forever.” So… every time the mason jars full of flowers start to wilt and dry… he notices and brings me home another bouquet to replace them. This has went on for nearly 5 years now.  Thus the reason for the little brag session. 😉

What you will need to create this amazing recipe:

-4 Cups Brown Sugar

-2 Cups Granulated Sugar

-4 Cups Mashed Bananas (about 12 ripe bananas)

-1/2 cup lemon juice

-1.75 ounces (3.5 tablespoons) of fruit pectin

-1 Vanilla Bean, split lengthwise

-1 1/2 cups toasted chopped pecans

Oh. Hello. This is me in my favorite room of the whoooooole house.:)

I like to soak my jars in boiling water (just put enough water in the bottom of each jar to weight them down), then set the lid on top of them to allow steam to sterilize the jars and lids. I just put mine on a low/medium heat the whole time I am making my jams/butters. This recipe makes 9 half-pint jars.

Put your 4 cups packed brown sugar into a large bowl.

Then add your 2 cups granulated sugar to the bowl and then set it aside.

If little muchkins happen to run in to help, stop and make them wash their little hands. ;)

Add your Bananas into a cooking pot, I prefer bananas that I am using in a fruit butter to be just a *tad* on the brown spotted side.

Use a whisk or potato masher to mash them up.

Add your 1/2 cup lemon juice into the pot.

Add your pectin into the pot.

Now stir, stir, tell your sister you are big enough to do it on your own, and stir some more.

Okay. Vanilla bean. This little tiny bean was 14.95 at the store. It even came in its very own jar. All by itself. Pretty sure this was as much as the rest of the ingredients added together. I usually buy mine online, but just hadn’t ordered them yet, 25 are 25.00 dollars (less as you buy more) here: http://www.beanilla.com/madagascar-vanilla-beans (<— order them, because I will be doing a blog post on how to make your own vanilla extract with them soon):)Now, cut the bean down the center, lengthwise, and scrape out the tiny black seeds into your pot, then drop the bean in also. (Keep it whole you will be removing the actual bean in a couple steps)

Stir, sniff, and stir some more.

Place the pot on medium/high heat on your stove top.

Now instruct the little helpers game of musical chairs somewhere further away from the hot oven.

Once the banana mixture is boiling, stir in the brown sugar/white sugar mixture into the pot. Once sugar is dissolved, pull the long vanilla bean out with a fork.

This is where you can choose to add your chopped pecans if desired. I did half my batch without, and then half with. :)

I like to use a glass pitcher (like my measuring one) to scoop out the hot (be very careful) banana butter and then pour into the jars. It is a little messy, but easier to get it all into the jars. Screw the lids on and place them back into the canning pot you were sterilizing them in. Once it is back to a full boil, then cover and set timer for 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool on wire racks.

Spread on some artisan toasted sourdough (or honey wheat, etc.) and enjoy. This is also AMAZING on waffles. :)

Watch your children devour 3-4 pieces of delicious toast.


Leticia Paredes - 02/13/2013 - 10:42 am

Wonderful blog post beautiful photos and yummmmmy looking/sounding amazing recipe!! I would love to try this with my girls. Thank you for sharing!

Lauren Miller - 02/13/2013 - 11:11 am

Fellow photographer here! Love your composition, and your recipe looks Devine. In case you ever felt like you weren’t doing what you were supposed to be doing, here’s a friendly reminder from the universe that you ARE. Rock on, Momma! And keep spreading the love.

chrissy c - 02/13/2013 - 11:21 am

Do you think this would still be good without the pecans? I have a kiddo with lots of allergies and he could have this without the pecans. I love to have him try new things and this looks DELISH! What are your thoughts? Thank you!

Jenny - 02/13/2013 - 11:45 am

This looks absolutely amazing and your girls and your kitchen are just too cute! Also – thanks for the tip on the vanilla beans – what a great deal – I just stocked up and bought 25!

Rebekah Inabnitt - 02/13/2013 - 12:18 pm

I have been following your photography work on facebook, I love your work and now I want to enjoy your blog as well :-)

sleepingwillow - 02/13/2013 - 12:27 pm

It is delish either way :) I did half of my batch with, and half without :)

sleepingwillow - 02/13/2013 - 12:28 pm

wahoo! Glad to share the link, I am pretty sure my jaw dropped when I saw the price of 14.95 for that one silly bean, I even looked behind it to make sure that I wasn’t getting one that had been opened. lol. 😉

Jacquelyn Wilbanks - 02/14/2013 - 4:58 am

Awesome! Can not wait to try this recipe! Love your kitchen and blog too! ;o)

Valorie Fritz - 02/19/2013 - 5:34 am

Love your story about your hubby, how very sweet!

Mary Lopez - 02/22/2013 - 12:00 pm

Love to read your blog and see your photos, its like reading a book, with all the detailed photos, thanks! I will try this soon.

But I don’t think 4 bananas is enough for my huge family lol

Anja Will - 04/23/2014 - 12:14 am

I make this recipe about every 2 month , it is the best ever .

sleepingwillow - 05/16/2014 - 7:44 am

Yay!! I love it too! And haven’t made it in awhile, but thinking I need to :)

Fairy wings, lazy days, and memories….

I haven’t blogged in awhile.  Life has finally calmed down a little after the holidays, and it feels as if we are just waiting for the spring to arrive. When it gets warm we spend most of our days… and some of our nights out in the back field.  I am longing for the flowers, the warm sun on my face as I drink my morning coffee, dinners on the back porch, and my favorite… the warm summer breeze that comes through at 5pm every single evening.  Until then… I will enjoy our wood heat, warm meals simmering in the crock pot all day, and the sound of the kids feet pattering throughout the house.

Little Miss Mae Photography - 01/28/2013 - 1:30 pm

I love how her little toes overlap! Too cute!

sleepingwillow - 01/28/2013 - 1:33 pm

lol, yes… I never loved them on myself… but I sure think they are cute on her.

Rickie - 01/28/2013 - 1:41 pm

I love her toes!!! <3 She really is such a beautiful little girl Hannah! You really capture her magic in your pictures. I hope you and the family are doing well. I miss you. :)

Debbie - 01/28/2013 - 1:43 pm

I have told you over and over again all these months, what a special gift you have, how beautiful your children are. And how big your heart and blessings are to all of us. We will probably never meet, since I am on the East coast,but each and every day, your pictures touch my heart, and bring me alittle magic, of fairy land and child memories. Your family is truly blessed, with the legacy that you are leaving them, with photos that are “priceless”. You Hannah, are one talented, amazing, beautiful, special and loving young lady, who has touched thousands of lives. Thank you for sharing with all of us, your very special gift. (I could only pray, to even leave alittle bit of that to my grandkids). May God continue to bless you each and every day. Hugs and blessings and love always…

Homemade Peppermint Patties…

These are a favorite holiday treat around here, and I hope they will be in your home too.  My youngest calls them “Santa Patties”, and for a nice change for Santa, we leave these out for him instead of cookies. 😉

What you will need:

  • 28 ounces of Sweet and Condensed Milk (Two 14 ounce cans)
  • 9 Cups of Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup of Pure Peppermint Extract (Depending on minty you want them)
  • 1 Package of Candy Coating, or two bags of chocolate chips (depending on what you want to dip them in)
  • two tablespoons of shortening
  • crushed candy canes for topping (optional)
  • Red food coloring (optional)1. Pour your sweet and condensed milk into your Kitchen Aid or a big mixing bowl.
    2. Add your powdered sugar two cups at a time.
    3. Add your peppermint extract
    4. Blend until mixture resembles a dough like texture.
    5. Spoon out dough and roll into ball and then flatten into a disk onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper or parchment paper.
    6. Place cookie sheet in freezer for 30 minutes to chill dough
    7. Once dough is chilled, put your chocolate or candy coating into a microwave safe bowl and melt down according to packaging instructions. I always add a tablespoon or two of shortening.
    8. If you are using a white chocolate, add a few drops of red coloring and stir until it is the shade of pink you are wanting.
    9. Using a fork, drop the dough rounds into the chocolate and flip over to get both sides, then place on your cookie sheet again.
    10. Sprinkle crushed candy cane over chocolate while it is still wet to help it stick to each patty.
    11. Freeze patties until chocolate covering is hard, then place in an air tight container for storage.
    12. I keep mine in the freezer until I am ready to package them for gift giving:)

    Now… wait until the kids are in bed and hoard a handful just for you to eat. 😉

RECIPES | Pearltrees - 12/21/2012 - 9:15 am

[…] Homemade Peppermint Patties… » Thesleepingwillowblog […]

Homemade Lemon Bars…….. Yes. They are DElicious.

One of my all time favorite desserts:)

You will need:

  • 1 cup room temperature butter
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (best from juicer, but not a must) – In juicer I used two large lemons to get this amount.
  • 2 tablespoons lemon pulp (from juicer- or if you do not have one grated lemon zest works)Preheat your oven for 350.  Prepare two pie pans with coconut oil (or butter spray for non-stick).  Blend two sticks of room temperature butter until it is creamy and whipped-like.
      Add your two cups of flour, one cup at a time and blend again.Add your 3/4 cup of powdered sugar and blend again.Scoop out of bowl with rubber spatula and spread into the bottom of both of your pans evenly. Then place in preheated oven for 18 minutes or until starting to brown.Put your 2 1/4 cups sugar in your mixing bowl.
    Add your four eggs to the sugar and blend. Add the remaining 1/4 cup flour and blend. Cut your two large lemons and remove seeds.
    Juice all lemon halves in your juicer {Or hand squeeze them if you do not have a juicer}.Measure out 6 tablespoons of your fresh lemon juice into your mixture and blend.If you used a juicer, use two heaping tablespoons of your pulp (make sure there are not seeds in the pulp you scoop out) Or if you are not using a juicer, you can just grate your lemon peel and add a tablespoon instead. Blend again.Your crust should be just about done if not done already:)
    Then pour your lemon filling into each crust and bake for 20 minutes. Top with powdered sugar when done!  (I like mine brown around the edges and solid in the center). 
lorena - 12/18/2012 - 1:06 pm

These look Ahhhmazing!!!!! yumm!

Chasing Fireflies…

“If you catch a firefly and keep it in a jar, You may find that you have lost a tiny star. If you let it go then, back into the night, you may see it once again star bright.” – Lilian Moore


Mary Lopez - 11/29/2012 - 3:17 pm

Love your dreamy photography, its like a story book

Lori Waddell {Kennesaw GA photographer} - 11/29/2012 - 11:35 pm

Oooh, I love this session….just beautiful!!!

Anne Long - 11/30/2012 - 7:49 am

Your photography gives me warm and fuzzy reminders of how i hold my own childhood memories in my head…and thats exactly what i want pictures to capture! Absolutely beautiful!!

Jennifer - 02/14/2013 - 6:23 am

Oh how I wish we had fireflies here in Colorado. They are such amazing little creatures!

sleepingwillow - 02/14/2013 - 8:44 am

You could Jennifer :) In the magical land of photoshop. 😀